Millward Place opening . Pictured from left to right: Bromford business manager Josie Bishton, Focus chief executive Tom Harrison, and resident of housing development

Millward Place opening . Pictured from left to right: Bromford business manager Josie Bishton, Focus chief executive Tom Harrison, and resident of housing development

A new supported housing development has been officially unveiled in Birmingham specialising in aiding people with visual impairments and disability.

Visually impaired resident Delphine Nurse was given the honour of cutting the ribbon to mark the opening of Millward Place, in Monyhull Hall Road, Kings Norton.

The development is the result of a partnership between sight loss charity Focus Birmingham and Bromford.

The aim of the ‘My Place’ model is to raise the aspirations of people with long term health or support needs to help them live independently, reduce dependency and harness opportunities.

Among those attending the opening of Millward Place was Councillor Mike Leddy (Labour, Brandwood Ward) who was joined by Focus chief executive Tom Harrison and Bromford Business Manager Josie Bishton.

Mr Harrison said: “We have been looking to modernise and develop our accommodation-based services for a number of years and Bromford’s ‘My Place’ supported living model has provided a fantastic opportunity for Focus Birmingham and the people we support.

“It has allowed us to move from an outdated ‘group home’ residential care setting to a scheme that gives people much more independence and choice in how they live their lives.”

“For us as a charity, being able to meet the needs of a special group of people with a long association with Focus Birmingham, has been a very important objective for us and we’re delighted the move has worked out so well for them. Millward Place has also provided the chance for people new to Focus Birmingham to move to a supported living environment and receive the specific help they need from a staff team experienced in sight loss and disability issues.”

Josie Bishton said: “The My Place scheme at Millward Place is the first of its kind to be built by Bromford. It has given us the opportunity to work in partnership with Focus to help move people out of a residential care setting into independent living, providing safe, secure and affordable housing for vulnerable people with long term support needs.

“Our model enables vulnerable people to live in and be part of the local community with their own self-contained apartment managed by ourselves and on-site support provided by Focus. The open day was a great opportunity to celebrate the partnership with Focus and welcome the residents to the scheme and the local community.”

Millward Place consists of 14 self-contained one-bedroom apartments which have been specifically designed with the tenant’s specific needs in mind and to provide a safe and secure long-term home.

Special adaptations include hand rails throughout the building and colour contrasting plug sockets, walls, kitchens and bathrooms to enable tenants with some vision to move safely around their flat.

All the current residents at Millward Place, which was developed by Bromford, are supported by Focus Birmingham.

Focus, which offers support to the 29,000 visually impaired people in Birmingham, provides on-site care and support for residents and also works alongside Bromford’s Housing Enabler to ensure they live safely and independently. The Housing Enabler is on site for up to 18 hours a week, assisting customers with tenancy and general support issues.

At the same time, every resident has a Bromford tenancy and will receive additional housing management support and a responsive repairs service.

In addition to the flats, Millward Place has a community hub with a lounge, meeting room and kitchen which provides residents with a social area as well as facilities to deliver training, employment advice and activities.

There are five unfurnished flats still available at Millward Place. Applicants can be referred through Focus Birmingham by contacting Wendy Charles on wendyc@focusbirmingham.org.uk or 0121 459 5199 (mobile 07974 241476) or directly to Bromford via My Place manager Catherine Ashley on 07841 800331 or by visiting www.bromford.co.uk.

Places are allocated through monthly Steering Groups that involve all partners and key stakeholders.